GOING, GOING, GOING……..GONE? – Vernacular and our native tongue

The Association of the Teachers of Yoruba Language and Culture in Nigeria has condemned the alleged reduction of Nigerian languages such as Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba, from core to elective subjects in WAEC and the National Examination Council. The development had led to the reduction of candidates seeking admission to study these national languages in higher institutions. The recent retrenchment of Yoruba teachers in some state secondary schools has not been helpful. According to UNESCO, ‘approximately 600 languages have disappeared in the last century and they continue to disappear at a rate of one language every two weeks. Up to 90% of the world’s languages are likely to disappear before the end of this century if current trends are allowed to continue’. Saving our indigenous languages is a matter of urgency and is crucial to ensuring the protection of our cultural identity as well as safeguarding our linguistic heritage. Who is to blame? Government, traditional custodians or all of us? Looks like everyone who can speak an indigenous language has a part to play in this quagmire. Phew!

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  1. I sincerely believe the blame ιѕ on Єνєяуone. We are not just losing the languages вυт we are losing our ethnic ãήϑ cultural values. Everything ιѕ being “westernized” these days. I think parents should take the responsibility °ƒ making sure ЪŦ our mother tonuges donot end up being ā statistic °ƒ languages ЪŦ was once spoken вυт ιѕ no more.

  2. Thanks Deji. This growing menace can easily be traced to the doorsteps of parents who have shied away from speaking to their children in their mother tongue.

  3. Yes the parents are to be blamed but I won’t just narrow it to the parents alone,what happens to a government who doesn’t regard out cultural value and languages…take for example south africa has 11 official languages which 1 of them is english so I can walk into a bank and speak zulu or limpopo and will be well attended to,…even though all our languages can’t be me made official nothing stops the government for choosing the compulsory ones(yoruba,hausa and igbo) and making them official in the bid to promote our cultural values and make the citizens even respect these values. Our mother tongue shows we have an origin and when we loose that then we have lost our origin.

    1. True! Well said everyone. But as a parent may I suggest that some language teachers start offering private lessons in Nigerian languages! I’ve tried looking for one and no luck.

  4. I know most of you will disagree with me, but of what use is it if we carry one with the tradition of speaking our local languages? How did it affect our society when these languages were spoken frequently? How does it affect the devaluation of the naira?? This issue of speaking or not speaking local languages is a NON ISSUE! Period!!! There are much more important things to dwell on.

  5. I’ll disagree with the statement “the issue of speaking or not speaking local languages is a NON ISSUE”.I’ll butress my point with the case of China.Everyone there today is considered a “guru” and their economy today is contesting that of the no.1 country because they made sure their language is made official.This means they teach all sciences in their local languages.Even their laptops comes with their languages on them thereby making sure everyone is considered educated as long as they can communicate in their mother tougue.Already am sure you see how these can make the process of education easy and ensure rapid economic development.Usually,they don’t have to go through the stress of learning another language before been considered educated.Look at countries like Germany,Polland,France etc.The list is endless and the same applies.If I was taught mathematics in Yoruba,I would probably be a mathematician because till date I understand so many concepts in English and can’t translate and vice versa.Language plays a big role in National development!!!

  6. I agree with the fact that the local languages shouldn’t become electives. This only leaves us in a situation where our children lose their roots, thereby making them a foreigner in their own home front.

  7. There are lots of things that are so relevant but we take for granted as a nation which in-turn jeopardise our development both economically and socially. Our language is part of our National Identity and major pillar of National Development.

    The removal of Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo from WAEC and NECO core offered subject is the biggest mistake the two educational bodies will be making. How can indigenous languages be which our beliefs, values our society is built on become a minor. If we look not to far but pick developed African countries we would see that there development is based on the fact that they have embraced and stood for what they have(language).

    The parents will receive their blames towards this because they have created an indelible imprint in the mind of their kids not to speak the indigenous languages. Also the parents are part of the first face of curriculum implementation which makes them receive blames. The government will receive bigger blame of this problem. The government should protect nation heritage and integrity and our language is one thing that make us differ from others.

    If we embrace our language and teach our children or use our languages to teach various subjects or courses at all level of education, it will surely lead to drastic National development in all sectors.

    Adeonipekun Adeyanju Origin
    Brand Strategist
    President PACE International

  8. Oh pleeaassse! I’m so tired of hearing “parents are to blame” what if I can’t speak my own language?? Soo what do I do now? We should then shift the blame to my parents?? What is the way forward??? Abeg let these teachers that r angry start up a language school! I for one will enroll my kids ASAP! I admit I need help!

  9. Thanks everyone. I believe that whatever practical steps we take as individuals, educators or government bodies will begin the process of change. Private lessons, Language schools, reverting languages from electives to compulsory, national heritage festivals, local language talent shows/programs etc….the list is endless; will intensify restoration. Teachers, there goes a suggestion…..local language schools!

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